How The Proliferation of Voice In Smart Homes Is Changing Everything

Amazon recently hosted its annual 30-hour Prime Day. This year’s sales rose by over 60 percent eclipsing the infamous Cyber Monday and Black Friday events making it the “biggest global shopping event in Amazon history.”

The biggest hit of the day was the Echo Dot which was reduced by 30% price to a very affordable $35 and quickly ensured that it became the single highest-selling item on Amazon. Even the more expensive Echo device sold seven times more units than the 2016 sale.

Amazon’s risky strategy of promoting the use of voice search in every room of your home seems to be finally paying off. Mainstream consumers are starting to jump on the voice recognition bandwagon and adopt this shift away from text searching and pushing buttons.

The proliferation of voice and rise of the smart home has unwittingly turned the humble home into a battleground. Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Apple are desperately attempting to lock their consumers into one ecosystem. But, another recent announcement suggests Amazon is building on its early lead.

Amazon Alexa now has more than 15,000 skills. When compared with Google Assistant’s 378 apps and Microsoft Cortana’s 65 skills, there seems to be an increasing number of opportunities for both enterprises and developers.

However, which device, ecosystem or brand that you align yourself is irrelevant. We are now living in a digital age where the always connected consumer is king, and their increasing expectation levels can no longer be ignored.

It doesn’t seem too long ago that Amazon revolutionized e-commerce with their 1-Click ordering concept. But, even that now feels like one click too many. The introduction of voice-driven commerce also delivers yet another learning curve to businesses that need to evolve and avoid becoming the next Blockbuster video or Kodak as the digital transformation gathers pace.

Our digital consumer lifestyle now demands the simplification of almost everything. A date, cab, restaurant table, flight and hotel room can now be obtained from a click, swipe or a simple voice command across a plethora of devices. The proliferation of voice enabled technology is already shaping up to be a game-changer moment for retail. But this is only half of the story.

Sure, there is an argument that controlling your home lighting using your voice when you are sitting 5 feet away from a physical switch is just plain lazy. And do we really need a smart meter to ensure the temperature of your home office is always at the optimal temperature?

Whatever reservations you might have around using a combination of technology based solutions and your voice to control your house, make no mistake it will change everything. When mainstream audiences invite voice recognition into their home, they will have very little patience for any business or product that continues with the old way of doing things.

If users continue their slow but steady migration away from screens and use their voice on almost invisible devices, many believe it could even spark the end of the smartphone. Sure, the progress of this technology is still in its infancy, but naysayers run the risk of their business being caught behind the curve when the real magic moment arrives.

Voice-activated search needs to be at the top of any digital strategy initiative to prepare for the inevitable integration of company websites and apps. Amazon has awoken the curiosity of its users around the possibilities of voice control and smart home devices, but what happens next is when things get interesting.

Companies are currently busy working behind the scenes preparing to release new products with integrated voice control to ride the digital wave of change. But make no mistake, it’s consumer expectation levels that are responsible for this significant shift in attitude towards to voice technology.

The digital evolution is only just beginning. Capital One customers can already manage their banking by simply asking Amazon’s Alexa questions such as “What are my recent transactions?” Meanwhile, using your voice to control your home lighting and a variety of devices via Wi-Fi enabled smart plugs is incredibly easy to get started.

Hearable technology is also advancing at a rapid rate too. There are many opportunities around introducing voice-activated features that have the potential to transform the entire industry. Many consumers could quickly go from having wired headphones to tiny voice activated wireless earbuds on their commute to work.

We can already turn on our home heating and lighting when 4,000 miles away on a business trip. There is a strong argument that the Jetsons lifestyle is already here, whether you to choose to click a button or use a voice command, that’s entirely your own prerogative.

Please share your thoughts and predictions about how you think voice search will evolve by commenting below.